The Underestimation of Virtual Reality

Virtual realities may become a health risk or opportunity in the future. — Why in the future? — Actually there is no true virtual reality today. Of course we all know the different VR glasses taking over the innovation market. But that is just some experimental or gamification fun.

Let’s start by defining the words “virtual” and “real”:

Virtual: Most people think that virtual means that something is perceptible with our fifth sense — “seeing”. The actual philosophical defenition for virtual is far more beyond. Virtual is a virtue which describes an object that does not exist the way it seems to be. The object does not exist as this object, but seems to simulate being this object. The word has its origin in the French word “virtual” which means “capable to appear”.

Real: “Real” means that something is neither an illusion nor addicted to the wishes and mindset of a single person. Something real is objective and it actually is how it seems to be and is NOT an illusion.

There is the first problem: The joint of the two words “virtual” and “reality” is very contentious itself. The two words resign each other. While “virtual” means that something is an illusion or a simulation, “real” means, that it is none of these, but the opposite.

So to have a rare definition of “virtual reality”, this phrase is supposed to mean, that something (for us humans) seems to be real (but actually it is not real). But we as humans are not able to recognize if it is real or not.

This leads to the second problem and underlines this assumption: There is no virtual reality and if there is one, we humans will never be able to recognize. All the VR games which we know are not real virtual reality, because we always know that everything we see during such moments is an illusion. Even if it feels some kind of real, we always know that it is a simulation.

To keep this topic on a higher level: The only real virtual reality we might know jet is our own reality called “life”. There are some studies which reveal that the chance that we all are living in a simulation is about 20%. But there is one characeristic of virtual reality, which is very present in our world: The belief that we as humans and everything we see, feel, taste, smell and hear is real.

Reality or not?

If you are interested in this topic the key word “brain in a tank” may be interesting for you.